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Judging the Environment judicial nominations photo

A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

Senator Statements


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Sen. Boxer Floor Statement in Opposition to Alito Nomination
(Democrat - California) 01/25/06
"Will Justice Alito vote to uphold Congress’s constitutional power to pass laws to protect Americans’ health, safety, and welfare? Judge Alito’s record says no. In the 1996 Rybar case, Judge Alito voted to strike down the Federal ban on the transfer or possession of machine guns because he believed it exceeded Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause. His Third Circuit colleagues sharply criticized his dissent and said that it ran counter to ‘‘a basic tenet of the constitutional separation of powers.’’ And Judge Alito’s extremist view has been rejected by six other circuit courts and the Supreme Court. Judge Alito stood alone and failed to protect our families. Will Justice Alito vote to let citizens stop companies from polluting their communities? Judge Alito’s record says no. In the Magnesium Elektron case, Judge Alito voted to make it harder for citizens to sue for toxic emissions that violate the Clean Water Act. Fortunately, in another case several years later, the Supreme Court rejected the Third Circuit and Alito’s narrow reading of the law. Judge Alito doesn’t seem to care about a landmark environmental law."

Sen. Obama Floor Statement: NOMINATION OF JOHN ROBERTS
(Democrat - Illinois) 09/22/05
"In those 5 percent of hard cases, the constitutional text will not be directly on point. The language of the statute will not be perfectly clear. Legal process alone will not lead you to a rule of decision. In those circumstances, your decisions about whether affirmative action is an appropriate response to the history of discrimination in this country or whether a general right of privacy encompasses a more specific right of women to control their reproductive decisions or whether the commerce clause empowers Congress to speak on those issues of broad national concern that may be only tangentially related to what is easily defined as interstate commerce, whether a person who is disabled has the right to be accommodated so they can work alongside those who are nondisabled—in those difficult cases, the critical ingredient is supplied by what is in the judge’s heart."